009 – Thomas Kutzman of Prevu – On a Mission to Save Homebuyers Money

Prevu

Smart online brokerage enable commission rebates via an end-to-end Platform…

PrevuThomas Kutzman, Co-Founder of Prevu (a smart online brokerage focused on saving people money) and host of “Real Estate Is Your Business” podcast, joins Scott Pollack and Pavan Bahl in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

Better Technology. Better Service. Best Commission Rebates.

PrevuKutzman touches on how commission rates too high in real estate, with rates in the US/NYC being double and triple than other developed countries, and how his experiences along with his co-founder Chase Marsh led to creating a solution with Prevu. He continues that in New York City the average real estate price is $1.5-2 Million with high commissions, and how it really is not free to be represented by buyer’s agent because it’s built into the price because of commission split with buyer’s agent. How Prevu gets up to two-thirds back on commissions of buyer’s side to the customer, receiving money back as a commission rebate check. It is not because of a lesser service, instead using technology for better experience for buyers and to make agents more efficient, plus a lower internal cost structure. Controlling the consumer experience and the quality of service and interaction. Despite some 30,000 licensed agents in NYC, 10% of them are doing 90% of work. The Prevu brand acquires leads and customers digitally, and provides more stability and experience/activity for Prevu agents. Plus, why it is a scalable model, and best for major markets.

Engineering a smarter buying experience

PrevuHow Kutzman has been looking at it through the lens of other industries have changed like travel and financial, changing the way agents com into the industry and their expectations of stability, and why you’ll never learn a profession doing it part time. Prevu’s compelling value proposition, the impact of the new tax reform on real estate, and why it won’t impact most people. And, making use of a commission rebate, and expanding to other markets.

Charitable giving, learning, and treating people well

Personal questions cover giving back, a focus on charitable giving, Children’s International, and Code2College which encourages STEM careers at a high school level for underprivileged and minority teens, and how encouraging tech careers at earlier ages leads to greater success. The NYU Violets, how Kutzman was encouraged to save and buy a property instead of having cancelled rent checks, making sure if you didn’t know something, go take a class to learn it. How there are a lot of great real estate people, and a lot of great technology people, but few have a lens on both areas. As time goes on, more people will know both. The meaning of success, a great mentor, treating people the right way serving you well, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, and “Principles”.

 

008 – Oliver Swan of Treesdale Real Estate Partners – Student Housing is a Big Deal

Oliver Swan

Student housing as a captive market and massive asset class in real estate

Oliver SwanOliver Swan, Managing Partner of Treesdale Real Estate Partners (a real estate investment platform focused on the acquisition of student housing properties nationwide), joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

The opportunity, maintenance challenges, service platform

Oliver SwanWhat is student housing, is it dorms? The surprising quality and variety of students housing, and why this asset class? Marketing properties, the application process, how students discover properties, the focus on amenities, then price and location, starting with signing leases in fall, aligning with academic year, how it is a captive market, how students don’t have proper expectations so need to instill and manage those expectations. The current generation interacts differently, they don’t use the telephone to call for service Crazy requests from tenants such as one involving 25 tons of sand. Having to out technology in place to meet needs of tenants, and whether paying attention to social media is useful for responding to service, the opportunity for big data from service needs and responses, and a 100% engagement rate of platform for services. How the service platform is like a concierge out of necessity vs. luxury, for maintenance requests, and how real estate has lagged on technology front.

Technology complexity, navigating and strategizing demographic trends, and how universities prioritize housing

Oliver SwanThe complexity and expense of providing Wi-Fi to every resident as a challenge, especially when offering beefy enterprise-grade equipment and infrastructure, how landlords will need to react to the future tenants of this generation, hurdles to get big companies to partner in providing Wi-Fi, the bureaucracy in the way of partnering with municipalities to drive infrastructure innovation in major markets, how markets are opportunity-based, the strong demographics, focusing on the acquisition of existing products and operating them more efficiently or repositioning them for better value/monetization. How regional differences in demographic have impact on operating properties. Looking at university enrollment over time and their plans, along with statewide demographics and economy, plus factors leading to family creation and trends across education paths. And why providing housing is seen as an ancillary priority for universities.

Good timing, a room divided, and the concentration required for racing cars.

How Swan got his start with some good timing in this new growing space with Campus Habitats. And how his job is being a generalist and being able to do a lot of different tasks. Swan’s freshman year dorm room as the seeds of a desire to fix things in student housing, a roommate random coincidence who played a combination of Fish and Rent, too many towels, and a room divided. Being clean but messy, total concentration of taking a car onto a racetrack, and geography leads to a goal in Botswana.

 

007 – Paraag Sarva of Rhino – Securing Rentals

Paraag Sarva

Security deposit alternative for rentals with Paraag Sarva…

Paraag SarvaParaag Sarva, CEO/Founder of Rhino (replacing security deposits with a smarter alternative that’s better for both renters and landlords) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

An atypical path, from dating site to the Mayor’s office, and why Rhino was created

Paraag SarvaSarva discusses how Rhino is making renting easier, starting with security deposits and figuring it out after that. He reviews how his path has not been that of a typical real estate entrepreneur, taking a journey starting with financial services, working as a policy advisor in the NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s office, a principal at Grow Real Estate, and his role as Vice President, Media and Partnerships for the dating site How About We. Plus, why Rhino was created, and some amazing donuts.

Insuring the landlord, marketing, and additional applications

Paraag SarvaHow instead of signing a lease with a security deposit, Rhino insures the landlord for damages caused by the tenant, solving challenges and pains from owner’s side. How Rhino marketed it to landlords, being mindful of ignorance of forfeiting security deposits, how the renter/landlord dynamic is adversarial, and why it takes a culmination of experience and learnings to do something in a complex space. The potential of applying this type of thinking to other components of real estate transactions.

Business strategy, customer adoption, and a presidential “prediction”

Business growth strategies based on looking at the concentrations of where people live and want to live, following the population and obvious opportunities, how Rhino achieves customer adoption, and employing geography by geography company-building much like dating sites. Sarva’s favorite industry so far, the implications of being the youngest in an entrepreneurial family, sibling rivalry, and a 2020 presidential race prediction and candidate suggestion.

006 – Richard White of Goodlord – A New Set of Rental Rules

Goodlord

A platform for transactions and “paperwork” for UK home rentals…

GoodlordRichard White, CEO/Co-Founder of Goodlord (the first digital system that pulls together the whole tenancy setup process) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack from the United Kingdom. Recorded in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu. Special thanks to Tom Lambert of Global Founders Capital.

Overcoming industry fragmentation, whether the UK market is more receptive to innovation, and umbrella agencies vs. agents

White discusses taking on a great opportunity, and initiating what he believes can be a global movement, the nature of the rental market in the UK, the changing rental experience, what he saw as an estate agent, how in this day and age so much of the rental market is “super fragmented”, the continuing use of antiquated processes such as fax machines, questioning why the industry is not more modern, and his determination to do something about this. He reveals how he looked at discovery, how to find property, how manage it, but no one making transaction easy or tying it all together. He and his co-founder figured it was the right place to start, from signing, to exchange of cash, to due diligence. Why the UK may be more receptive of real estate tech than other markets. The Goodlord software platform, its segments including emerging (1-3 offices), then 3-13 offices, and 13+, and the division based on how big the agency is and how many transactions. White describes how in the UK there are more umbrella companies, not individual agents.

Building a new set of rules, creating ease and transparency, and finding a co-founder

Next, White reviews the goal, how Goodlord can’t sell product only to estate agents, how they need to take key stakeholders and establish an understanding of a new set of rules. Plus, the challenge of having to convince people that electronic signing was legal. The impact on the industry, driving things forward, and the effort to making people raise their game, making renting as easy and transparent as possible for everyone, going from 11-130+ people in the business, how scaling a business is difficult, finding his co-founder via serendipity from renting a house together, and the dynamics of friends vs. family as business partners.

Working with investors, selling the vision, and cryotherapy

How a large investment changes the dynamics of business operations and focus. Selling the vision, getting the MVP out the door, and dealing with potential investors. Personal questions cover struggles with school, learning problem solving, a surprising app on his phone, cryotherapy, football and cricket, Outward Bound, and white water canoeing. And, taking stock of assets, how a business owner is the biggest asset, and the importance of developing an arsenal of thing you know.

005 – Fraser Patterson of Bolster – Constructing a Full Stack Experience

Bolster

Transforming home remodeling into a safe and hassle-free process…

BolsterFraser Patterson, Founder/CEO of Bolster (a soup to nuts renovation platform built atop a powerful new process. offering the best architect and general contractor for your home renovation project and together use a suite of budget & project management tools) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Traditional vs. marketplace, from online selection to a detailed call, and catering to flexible needs

BolsterPatterson reviews marketplace vs. traditional approaches. Traditional involved finding a contractor – a marketplace model can do a disservice to homeowner, not trying to solve the problem downstream but instead solving a matchmaking need; with the model aggregating demand and selling leads to professionals, creating a competitive environment bad for service people and with the homeowner getting less info. How Bolster is different, overcoming the usual Illusion of choice in marketplace. Consumers get direct matches, better than just a marketplace. How Bolster knows what a homeowner wants from an architect or contractor, allowing the homeowner to identify online and auto select in a qualification process, discovering things they need to know about their project, then jumping on a detailed call with specialist. How Bolster offers a wide range of opportunities and types of jobs and contractors. The opportunity to cater to several types of needs: flexibility of scope of work and budget, with others on a fixed budget but flexible on scope, and then those with strict scope of work but a more flexible budget. And, how it all comes down to educating the consumer.

Cost overruns, reality shows, and saving real money

Examining the average cost overrun of 60% in NYC, which is usually not planned for. How one can probe in advance, slowing down before construction begins, getting the right info. How, if done properly, constructions can be very plug and play, and how with Bolster across projects they boast a mere 0.1 % cost overrun, which Bolster absorbs. How most consumers can’t enjoy results emulating construction-themed TV reality shows, and how Bolster can save the average homeowner $59k/project as well as time.

Yorkie Bars, a price guarantee, and scaling nationally

A special snack offering of Yorkie Bars, how Patterson started as a carpenter, and has a mathematics degree. Direct/indirect costs of builds, and a detailed review of all of the elements of the construction process and budget. The importance and desire for transparency and Bolster’s cost guarantee, thanks to their insurance partners. How Bolster offers what can be seen as a full-stack experience, and the offer of a best price guarantee. The plan for scaling nationwide, news of recent major acquisition, and following a calling to solve this problem by building this business.

004 – Harley Courts of Nooklyn – Beyond Brooklyn

Taking the friction out of rentals and roommates with tech…

Harley Courts, CEO at Nooklyn ( Brooklyn-based tech start-up fixing the experience of finding apartments and roommates) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

From skateboarding to real estate, data as a core asset, and why brokers are here to stay

Courts discusses the impact that the company’s atypical management and structure has contributed to its success, what he took from running a skateboard company, leadership, building a collaborative, mission driven team, how his skateboard company failing led to becoming the super of a building, then meeting numerous real estate brokers and realizing he can do that, starting Nooklyn as a blog, and having so much success that he had to hire agents. How when giving listing data away you have nothing, as it’s a core asset. How Nooklyn is giving renters control over process, plucking away at removing friction for renters, the majority of the country is still on Craigslist for rentals, and why the highly regulated nature of the real estate industry, and the fact that this is the largest purchase most people will make, means brokers will remain.

Taking on Manhattan, fixing the experience, and growing quickly

A spectrum of vegan offerings make for a dynamic snack. Court reveals how Nooklyn is growing beyond Brooklyn, and being on a mission to fix the experience for renters, and to take on a new market, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Why 200 listing number is a magic number to make progress, how Nooklyn offers an advantage for landlords, getting into shared housing on the platform, and the ability to facilitate transactions. Why with currently 250 agents Nooklyn is trying to hire 375 more agents in the next year. And how more than half the deals are split between at least two agents, who often contribute different skills sets and resources.

The skateboarding business, a police offer and a party animal, and eating vegan

Personal questions cover missing skateboarding, a broken elbow, a daughter (also) named Harley, learning the skateboarding industry in detail, seven layers of wood, difficulty in competing in the skateboarding business, a bad experience moving in with a police officer and a party animal who both stopped paying rent immediately, and how Court has personally gone through many challenges of rentals and roommates and what’s driven him to make the process better. Plus, a roommate platform built into the site, and favorite Vegan restaurants in Brooklyn.

003 – Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall – Tech, Funding, and Mars

Fifth Wall

Connecting technology innovation and real estate industry leaders…

Fifth WallBrendan Wallace, Co-Founder of Fifth Wall Ventures (fostering collaboration between innovative technologies for the Built World and industry-leading incumbents from all sectors of the real estate industry including: retail, industrial, hospitality, multi-family, homebuilding, office, and brokerage), joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Two halves of a career, the historical absence of funds in the largest economic sector, and playing translator

Fifth WallWallace shares the mission is to accelerate innovation in the Built World to improve how we live, work, sleep, consume, move, create, connect, and play. He comments how the company envisions a future where technology is seamlessly integrated into the physical spaces around us, creating a shared environment that is more accessible, efficient, and delightful than ever before. He covers his successes as entrepreneur and an exit, arriving at real estate tech, the marriage of the first half of his career (real estate banking and private equity, witnessing the boom and bust) and the second half of his career (going to business school, starting a data analytics business for recruiting and targeting the right kind of workers, raising $35 million as students, then creating the largest ride sharing platform in Latin America, and finally angel investing). How real estate tech offers low-tech risk because innovation is usually technically simple. Real estate is the largest asset class and lending category and store of consumer wealth—so why have there been no funds? What if one could raise capital from the largest buyers of real estate technology themselves, then collaborate and understand or influence what they are going to do, allowing them to make better investments, while supporting portfolio companies. This approach offers the best of traditionalist and generalist VC and corporate VC. How Fifth Wall is like an outsourced recruiter for companies to invest, and on the side of the companies, playing translator between major real estate incumbents and innovators, and partnering with generalist funds. And, how Fifth Wall has relationships deep into every subsector.

A demand for tech, big drivers, and learning from Amazon’s business model

Fifth WallIs Fifth Wall inciting change or making change themselves, and how the demand for real estate tech is growing. Playing a role in translating needs to specific solutions, a focus that is more on commercial real estate, less on residential brokerage, and concentrating on what partners are looking for. Big drivers are energy efficiency and building data assets, why more companies haven’t had a huge impact on the real estate industry with data, and the challenge with collecting meaningful data. Looking at brick and mortar retail and learning. Does Amazon know its business model? The meaning of retail is changing, and the line between online and offline. Plus how there must be more consideration of the physical store in online purchases, and how this relates to Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.

A technology divide, rushing for the exit, and real estate on Mars

East Coast vs. West Coast divide in technology, how technology is becoming all industries, New York as the nerve center of the real estate industry, and why Fifth Wall is likely to open office in NYC sooner vs. later. How rushing for the exit might have been the biggest mistake of Wallace’s career, both tech and real estate boom cycles won’t last, and why the real test is how you perform during imminent retractions. How Fifth Wall is effectively an advisory business and a venture fund, so Wallace’s time belongs to other people. And a look at rare free time, running and physical training, and the search for balance when one is being paid for good judgment. Plus, maintaining reality as a great partner while creating space to identify the next great opportunity, playing pool, early real estate memories, favorite rooms, and spending a lot of time on the roof. Plus, buying property on Mars.

002 – David Walker of Triplemint – Empowering Value and Engineering a Positive Customer Experience

Creating the best possible client experience when buying, selling, or renting a home…

David Walker, Co-Founder and CEO of Triplemint (a high tech real estate brokerage) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Pushing the envelope, a shift in the industry, and a major pre-market value proposition

Walker discusses why there’s room for so many new players, how despite the Internet and technology in other industries, the real estate industry lags 10 years behind, and in the last few years a transformation has begun. How the modern buyer and seller are smarter and looking for tech forward brands in all they do, how Triplemint is pushing the envelope, consumers are leading the charge, how more can be offered than just the agent, and the right equation of offering fantastic humans plus tools. There is a similar shift in real estate as in financial services, what’s changed is a demand for tech, an ease of actual transaction, speed to close, managing properties seen, and transparency of data. And, how to show more properties to buyers than they can see anywhere else, using predictive analytics. One major value prop is understanding trends and patterns and the data to determine someone is likely to list their home, adding a new value prop pre-market that’s fair for the consumer to have, earlier in the value chain. It’s not about convincing people to sell. Adding more data to the pricing picture. Plus, diligence to fiduciary responsibility,

A high NPS score, acquisition sources, and the impact of great agents

Customer service satisfaction survey measuring chance of referring business in the form of a Net Promoter Score (NPS), evaluating agents, and competing against established firms for that talent. How it used to be about highest splits and nicest offices, and now about the value a company can provide to the agent to do business and to the buyers and sellers. Two-thirds of transactions are acquired digitally by Triplemint, acquisition via agents and platform, and how it is one thing to get customers and another thing to offer more value and close transactions and get referrals. Triplemint’s off-the-charts NPS score of 91, with an average survey of 9.7/10 and a testament to the team. Triplemint boasts success due to fantastic agents, great and powerful technology, and empowering value.

Expansion, the future of agents, and working with a friend

Looking ahead at expansion beyond NY, how the consumer is getting smarter, and wanting to empower them to do so. Will the need for agents dissipate or is the consumer seeking agents who provide real value? And personal questions cover a surprising mobile app, The New Classics, Fantasy Football, working with a college friend and rowing teammate, an Iron Man, overcoming disagreements, working real estate, and teaching English.

001 – Vishal Garg of Better Mortgage – Bypassing Industry Inertia in Three Minutes

De-rigging the mortgage game with thoughtful technology…

Vishal Garg, CEO of Better Mortgage (a direct lender dedicated to providing a fast, transparent, and online mortgage experience backed by superior customer support) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

An industry behind the times, the need, and why pre-approval in 3 minutes is possible

Garg discusses how the mortgage industry is dominated by the top 5 banks with a third of the market, why the mortgage industry hasn’t modernized as fast as other industries, how it is one of the last oligopolies, and how because of complexity and size is one of last ones standing requiring modernization and innovation. He covers how startups need at least $20M of capital to make mortgages and finance them with Wall Street or bigger banks, and those amounts are usually not available to most tech startups. He shares the goals of helping consumers know how much they can afford, the challenges that followed a number of financial crises, and why Better Mortgage was created. Garg touches on how the company takes the info provided by applicants, uses an API to create pre approval within typically 3 minutes, whereas usually takes much longer as well as many as dozens of people.

Eliminating commissions, creating certainty, and making obtaining a mortage a non-event

When the numbers have been proven and credit has been checked, there is a high degree of confidence a consumer can obtain that financing. The impact of having no incentives to drive consumer experience or product choices, with loan consultants not paid on commissions at Better Mortgage, and how the company built a marketplace of 21 financing partners, making up the majority of mortgage lending market. How human elements are doing things that empower the consumer instead of just order taking, integrating automation to create certainty, why banks won’t do something like this kind of solution and the industry doesn’t care that the mortgage process is painful for the consumer, as an industry that helps the industry. The objective of making getting a mortgage a non event, helping consumers win with lower down payments, and a look at the source nearly half of default.

Overcoming industry inertia, the only way brokers can prosper, and maintaining focus

The importance of the fact that Millennials don’t want to be sold, creating a platform so 6 of 7 biggest banks in industry are financing off the platform, overcoming the inertia of the industry which cannot innovate, how mortgage brokers and real estate brokers who are really helping people with value today are the only ones who can prosper, and how the rest will have to find something else to do. Plus falafel chips and running a startup with young kids, focusing on the most important thing you need to do, and helping Americans to buy homes.

Hello World – Real Estate Is Your Business

How Technology Is Modernizing Real Estate …

Real Estate Is Your Business is a series of conversations with the innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders at the forefront of the modernization of the real estate industry. The podcast, presented by Prevu, is hosted by real estate technology entrepreneur Thomas Kutzman and business development expert Scott Pollack. You will hear the about the exciting technological and business innovations that are improving the way we live, work, and pretty much do everything.

Thomas Kutzman is the co-founder of Prevu, a tech startup on a mission to save people money when they buy or sell a home. Thomas has broad experience investing in public technology companies at asset management firms and top-tier investment banks, and has also been an active real estate investor for over a decade. Scott Pollack is a business development expert with experience helping both startups and Fortune 500 companies focus on growth. Scott is a member of the Forbes Business Development Council, author of “What, Exactly, Is Business Development”, and a regular speaker on the topic.